The federal government funds a number of programs that may help individuals secure funding for companies. As with any federal or state program, grants for truck drivers and owners of trucking businesses are not paid to individuals directly but rather to assistance programs. There are several government programs, including grants, that truck company's can look into taking advantage of for their business.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has a procurement assistance division staffed with small business specialists who are there to help you navigate the process for getting DOT contracts and subcontracts. An updated guide to DOT procurements is made available every October 1, the beginning of the government's fiscal year. A link to the procurement forecast can be found on the DOT website.
The U.S. Small Business Administration manages small business procurement for the federal government. Funding for trucking companies is negotiated by the SBA, which works with government departments to ensure that small businesses have opportunities to provide goods and services to the federal government.
The U.S. government is the world's largest purchaser of goods and services. By law, the government is required to provide opportunities for small businesses. The government wants to contract with small trucking businesses, particularly those owned by veterans and minorities.
To get started as a government contractor, follow these steps:
- Contact the Procurement Technical Assistance Center through its website. PTAC often partners with the Small Business Administration to offer classes and events free of charge.
- Determine the six-digit code assigned by the North American Industry Classification System for your type of trucking business.
- Use the Small Business Administration's questionnaire on the SBA website to determine whether your business can be classified as a small business.
- Obtain a D-U-N-S (Data Universal Number System) from Dun and Bradstreet via a phone or web request. Your D-U-N-S is a nine-character identification number that is unique to you. It is essential to have a D-U-N-S to do business with the federal government.
- Register as a government contractor in the System for Award Management.
- Become familiar with government contracting rules and practices by attending workshops and procurement events sponsored by the SBA and PTAC.
- Apply for socioeconomic certifications such as 8(a)BD and HUBZone. The 8(a)BD certification is for businesses that are owned by minorities and employ minorities. HUBZone is certification for businesses operating in underserved areas.
- Look for current contract bid opportunities at FedBizOpps.gov on the betaSAM.gov website.
A start-a-trucking-company grant may be obtained indirectly through Supplier Development Councils. SDCs are funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the SBA and are located in every state. They are designed to help minorities build their businesses by gaining fair access to the bidding process for securing government and industry contracts.
If you need a reduced loan rate to start your trucking business, the SBA's 7a Loan Program can help you connect with lenders and negotiate rates. The SBA guarantees the loan (up to 85% of the borrowed amount).
Grants for truck drivers may be available through the Pell grant program. Federal Pell grants are awarded to students attending an accredited institution who demonstrate extreme financial need. You may not have to pay to attend truck-driving school. Some employers provide on-the-job training so you can earn while you learn.
Availability of funding for government programs, including contracts for services, varies because of changing priorities and adjustments to the federal and state budgets. Be sure to visit the website of the appropriate agency to find the most current information.